This Week In Hoops: January 18

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to basketball season. If you were around these parts last year, you remember our weekly feature: This Week in Hoops. It’s changed a bit, but the essence is the same. If you’re new to Palestra Back, TWIH is a helpful guide to the recent goings on in the world of basketball. If something happens on the hardwood, you’ll hear about it here. 

The Biggest Story in Basketball

This Week In Hoops hasn’t featured an NBA plotline as the BSiB since before Christmas. College hoops has been wild, but this probably says a lot more about the current state of the NBA.

Not that the quality of play has been poor, but the current state of parity in the league has left a logjam in the standings that is difficult to sort out this early in the season.

The Warriors, Spurs, and Cavs have distanced themselves from the pack. The Sixers have done the same, but in the other direction. The other 26 teams in the middle are clogged, twisted, and mushed together.

The Denver Nuggets are 7 games ahead of last place in the Western Conference and 7 games out of 5th place in the Western Conference.

The East is even worse. The Milwaukee Bucks are 7 games behind the Bulls for 3rd place in the conference. There are 9 teams between them.

Every winning streak can catapult a team from one fate to another. A losing streak can turn hope of the playoffs into hope for the bounce of a ping pong ball.

The trade deadline, which arrives in less than one month, will be a tornado of buyers with sellers hard to come by. So many teams can see the playoffs, even the second round of the playoffs, if everything breaks their way, finding pieces to improve for the stretch run will be very difficult. If no one is selling, what will a rotational player cost via trade? Or what teams will surprise us and punt away the second half for a chance at a quick rebuild?

Last year, minds around the league were awfully confused when the Cavs gave up two first round picks for Timofey Mozgov. In this year’s seller’s market, that will look like chump change.

Basketball is Fun!

With all of the hot takes and super serious basketball related opinions out there, it’s important to remember that this is a game being played and watched for fun. Every week we’ll highlight something on the lighter side of the hoops world. 

NBA rosters are deep. Maybe too deep…

All-Star Celebrity Game rosters are out and the Property Brothers from HGTV are the hot ticket. Rumor has it they played in college and can still dunk. YES PLEASE.

Nuggets guard Will Barton got a little love from a little fan:

Essential Reading

All the pieces and posts you need to read to be on the ball. 

Palestra Back this week: FABRIC Score, measuring success in both basketball AND football

More from me, at Rush The Court: Virginia’s Jekyll and Hyde tendencies

Scott Cacciola from the New York Times profiled the revved up version of UNO that the Atlanta Hawks play on the team plane.

Rank Shots

May the Tuesday Top Tens rest in pieces. Long live Rank Shots! If you’re not familiar, this is where we rank the best teams in the NBA, college basketball, and rank another totally irrelevant something.

NBA:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Los Angeles Clippers

College Basketball

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Michigan State
  3. Maryland
  4. Villanova
  5. Kansas
  6. North Carolina
  7. Iowa

Cheap Beers

  1. Yeungling
  2. Rolling Rock
  3. Coors
  4. Budweiser
  5. Pabst’s Blue Ribbon
  6. Miller Lite
  7. Bud Light
  8. Coors Light
  9. Keystone Light
  10. Natural Light
  11. Miller High Life
  12. Bud Light Lime

Something Vaguely Basketball Related You Should Have Seen By Now

Based on a true story.”

Games To Watch This Week

Monday

NBA: It’s MLK Day, meaning the annual matinee slate of games. Local games (cough, cough…Sixers-Knicks) start as earlier as 1 PM, with national broadcasts kicking in at 2:30. The nightcap is the real treat though: Warriors at Cavs (8 PM/TNT).

NCAA: Syracuse at #9 Duke (7 PM/ESPN), #2 Oklahoma at #17 Iowa State

Tuesday

NCAA: #23 Butler at #12 Providence (6:30/FS1)

#1 Knasas at Oklahoma State (7 PM/ESPN2)

Northwestern at #3 Maryland (8 PM/BTN)

Clemson at #13 Virginia (8 PM/ESPN3)

Georgetown at #7 Xavier (8:30/FS1)

LSU at #15 Texas A&M (9 PM/ESPN)

I don’t know whether it was the network or the conference’s idea, but these 6:30/8:30 Big East doubleheaders on Fox Sports 1 are brilliant and awesome. Keep them coming.

Wednesday

NBA: Warriors at Bulls (8 PM/ESPN)

NCAA: Temple vs LaSalle (at the Palestra, 7 PM/CBSSN) 

Thats the first game of a double header (the second game, St. Joe’s-Penn, isn’t televised nationally). More of these. More fun scheduling ideas!

Thursday

NBA: Clippers at Cavs (8 PM/TNT)

NCAA: Memphis at Cincinnati (7 PM/ESPN2), Arizona State at Cal (9 PM/FS1), USC at Oregon (9 PM/PAC12), Gonzaga at St. Mary’s (11 PM/ESPNU)

Friday

NBA: Heat at Raptors (8 PM/ESPN), Pacers at Warriors (10:30/ESPN)

NCAA: Rhode Island at GW (7 PM/ESPN2)

Saturday

NBA: Bulls at Cavs (8:30/ABC)

NCAA: #2 Oklahoma at #22 Baylor (Noon/ESPN2)

Syracuse at #13 Virginia (Noon/ESPN)

Northwestern at Indiana (Noon/ESPNU)

#12 Providence at #6 Villanova

LOOK AT THAT NOON SLATE!

Vanderbilt at #14 Kentucky (4 PM/ESPN)

UCLA at Oregon (4 PM/CBS)

#3 Maryland at #4 Michigan State (6:30/ESPN)

dance hahpy

#18 Arizona at Cal (8:30/ESPN)

Sunday

NCAA: #24 Purdue at #16 Iowa (1 PM/BTN)

Enjoy the games, folks. Happy MLK Day!

(Note: Every edition of This Week in Hoops will end with a song. I’ve compiled all of these songs into a playlist that you can find here.)

**

Header Image via Brent Lewis/The Denver Post

Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org, Rush The Court, and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas, or questions, email them to palestraback@gmail.com.

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